Five reasons to share links with your students

Learning management systems (LMS) such as D2L aren’t just for distance learners anymore. While online and mixed-mode instructors do indeed use D2L to share lessons, a growing number of face-to-face instructors are also choosing to share materials (lecture slides, course readings, etc.) digitally. There are a number of reasons for this trend:

Firstly, print course pack production involves Bookstore, Print Shop, and Copyright Office staff, and therefore requires lead time. D2L, on the other hand, is self-serve and allows instructors to quickly upload readings to their online course.

Secondly, Langara Library is constantly adding to its robust collection of electronic resources, which includes e-books, online journals, and streaming films. These e-resources are easily integrated into online courses—no labour-intensive photocopying or scanning required.

Instructors often prefer to upload full-text readings (i.e. pdf files) to D2L, rather than provide students with links to the materials. The logic is that students are more likely to complete their readings if they don’t have to leave D2L to access them. However, for the following reasons, the Library and EdTech include linking among best practices for online course design:

  1. Currency. Publishers often make changes or add supplementary material to articles after initial publication. These changes are not reflected in PDF files uploaded to D2L, which are static.
  2. Technical considerations. PDF files occupy space on D2L servers; links do not.
  3. Copyright considerations. Most print and online works are protected by copyright. Members of the Langara community are expected to manage their individual responsibilities under Canadian copyright law. Copyright management is always a matter of risk assessment. When you link, you don’t create a copy of the work. This is ‘fairer’ to the copyright owner.
  4. License agreements. The Library’s online resources are governed by contracts with content providers. These agreements outline how a resource may be used and take precedence over user’s rights in the Copyright Act, such as fair dealing. Most of the Library’s online resources allow linking, but not all permit uploading PDF files to an LMS. To look up the terms of use for a particular online journal or database, visit the Library’s Licenses Guide.
  5. Data. Linking allows the Library to collect information about usage. This gives the library a sense of how important a particular resource is on campus. The Library often takes these numbers into consideration when deciding which subscriptions to renew.

For information on how to incorporate materials into your online courses, visit the Library’s Guide to Linking. For personalized assistance, please contact the Library or EdTech staff.

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